more lessons from 2013 ....

So ... even though I like to think I am the kind of person who believes life offers up experiences and not lessons

(the thinking part of me knows this is true but the emotional part of me still channels grade school report cards along with the nervous belly and yearning for little gold stars)

if I said "experiences from 2013" this would be a whole other post ... and actually now that I write that, I probably need to write that post, too. It might be a lot more fun.

This not so fun series started here and here.

sullymac - boy wonder

3. The Etsy and doing it all lesson:

My "one woman show" business is not sustainable.

Before Etsy the idea of a 'one woman show' as a lasting business model was not on my radar. I did not think this was some kind of nobler thing or more important way of doing business. I did not think this was the way to a happier life or more money or doing more impactful work - I didn't think about it at all really.

After a decade in banking watching businesses survive, thrive, explode, implode and just drift away from passionate founders and another decade with my own business (much of that time with employees) I knew that businesses need systems and processes and checkpoints. I knew that businesses are investments and need to be cared for as such.

Somehow when Etsy came along I forgot all about this stuff I already knew.

I was like the young girl who scoffs at the friends who pine for their princes, but secretly practices her curtsies and tiara hair - I created exactly the business I would never advise another person to create.  

Maybe the business I had secretly always wanted - the one with me in complete control.

Every single thing I have sold in the last 7 years (over 25,000 or so things) have been designed, fabricated, finished, checked, packaged and shipped by me - every single show I've done was booked, planned, displays created, shipped, assembled, show floor worked, orders filled, customers followed up with by me, websites created, blogs created, social media and business relationships haphazardly maintained, over 1000 blog posts, a gazillion other things - only God knows how many customers corresponded with, how many balls made it into baskets, how many balls were dropped ...

Then Etsy announces that manufacturing is OK now and start promoting it in subtle and not so subtle ways and I feel kind of like ... well, an idiot. Because I knew this was not a sustainable model and I have worked myself into the ground with it anyway. There is no fault here. It is just an experience I will be creating in a new way in 2014. Just a leg of my journey - the next leg will be different.

(we all get lots of legs don't worry, it only looks like we just get two, there is a record breaking millipede with 750 - we are really more like her)

2. The "when you've got your health" lesson:

I will have to get back to this one because I am not feeling as healthy today as I would like, no doubt because I have put my health practices on the back burner for the last few busy weeks. I think I should write about this from a place of strength. Autoimmune stuff is tricky ...

(luckily for me, cats have nine lives and we always land on our feet ... and I've got all those legs remember)

1. The mothering is a gift lesson:

I come from a family with a long lineage of motherhood karma. Infertility, miscarriages, babies raised by aunts and grandmothers, babies born to unwed mothers - we have only one baby (she is almost 5 now) born to a mother and father who were married (to each other and before she was conceived) in 4 generations.

I am going to write a long post about this mothering/creation/karma stuff next week. With Jupiter in Cancer it is kind of divine timing to talk about this stuff, maybe someone can be helped by something with it.

I wanted to wrap this post up this week, so I can start a new leg of our journey next week. No telling where this new leg will carry us - another family inheritance is feet that tend to go in unintended directions and are also about two sizes too big so we always to keep our eyes open ....

xo all - Merry Christmas Week!


KJ said...

First, have a safe new year Cat.

Second, I have no idea of how you did it all.

Third, I never think of lessons as being graded; I think of lessons as things that I learn from. I have lots and lots of grades in my life. I have a lot more lessons and I hope they continue.

Catherine Ivins said...

Kathy - You're right, it's the grade that's the problem and these how the hell do I find myself here again when I totally know better situations. I have to unlink the lesson from the grade - very smart. The only way I have done what I have done is to not do a whole bunch of other stuff and that other stuff is important too, plus I have done some of the stuff I have done rather half-assed. You have a safe New Year, too- are you still in NJ for the holidays? xo

DancingMooney said...

I wanted to wait until I had time to finally sit down and read this... what a year it has been. I don't know how you do it either Cat. I know how much I do, and I'm guessing it's so much less, than you do. You are a rocket. Good thing for the nine lives and always landing on your feet. A good character trait to have. ;)

But you are right, it is not sustainable. I've been going through these realizations lately too, and have been trying to think outside the box, and not keep myself stuck in this having all my eggs in one basket program I've been running lately.

Take these next few days to relax and really unwind... the new year is coming, but it's not here yet. Give yourself rest. :)


Catherine Ivins said...

I hope you are resting, too Janelle! This is the first year I didn't stop shipping at some point - I mean obviously sales slowed way down, but there was never a day to just say - "whew done" and I really missed that moment this year. Lots to think about for 2014 ..